|Author: Doug Sharp
Date: updated 10/30/1999, updated 03/27/2003
Recently I was asked to verify a reference in my book, The Revolution Against Evolution which made note of a Neanderthal specimen found buried in a tomb along with chain maille armor. I first heard of this mentioned in a video by Dr. Michael Girouard Ape Men: Monkey Business Falsely Called Science produced in 1990 by the Institute for Creation Research. Ian Taylor makes reference to it in his book In the Minds of Men, third edition. Since neither source had the original reference, I talked to Ian Taylor personally and he sent me a copy of the reference along with another one of interest.
Late Survival of Neanderthal Type
Nature (London) April 23, 1908, Vol. 77, p. 587
“In the February issue of the Bulletin International of the Academy of Sciences of Cracow, Mr. K. Stolyhwo describes a human skull dating from the historic period which presents strong indications of close affinity with the Spy-Neanderthal type, the so-called Homo primigenius, of the Paleolithic epoch. The skull, it appears, formed part of a skeleton from a tomb in which was also buried a suit of chain-armour, together with iron spear-heads, &c. In the great development of the supra-orbital ridges and of the notch at the root of the nasals, the skull, which was found at Nowosiolka, closely approximates to the Neanderthal type. It may be added that, in view of Prof. Solla’s recent reference to the latter to the Australian stock, the occurrence in eastern Europe of a late survival of the same type is a matter of profound interest.”
Living Neanderthal Man
Nature (London) Dec. 8, 1910, Vol 85, p. 176.
“In the Phillippine Journal of Science for June (1910), Dr. R.B. Bean, of the Anatomical Laboratory, Manila, reports the discovery of a living specimen in the island of Luzon which he believes to bear close relationship to the Palaeolithic type represented by the Neanderthal skull. The massive lower jaw with its square ramus and receding chin, the low cephalic index (73-68), heavy brow ridges, rounded orbits, large nasal apetures and high nasal index (102-2), combined with small stature (156-8 cm.), muscular frame and short femur, all approximate to a form similar to that of the antediluvian man of Europe, Homo heidelbergenius. Dr. Bean in the same issue of the Journal continues his study of the racial anatomy of the people of Taytay, dealing here with the women, whom he finds to be more primitive than the men, and closely resembling the women of Siberia. The Blend type is largely primitive in character, and the Australoid variety comes between the Iberian and the primitive.”
Creationists find the implications of this type of thinking extremely offensive. These researchers in effect treated these people as living “specimens” as if they were observing flora and fauna of a strange new world. This racist belief logically extended from their evolutionary viewpoint. The second reference is quite telling in that the belief that women were inferior to men was quite blatantly expressed. See Jerry Bergman’s article “The History of Evolution’s Teaching of Women’s Inferiority” for more detail on the impact of this belief.
The artistic depiction of black ape-men contributes heavily to racist beliefs. Why are the ape-men in the text books almost never depicted as white? It is because the white European intellectuals, in their own perverted logic, thought that somehow their lack of melanin made them more highly evolved and superior. Isn’t that in a greater sense what’s wrong with this world today? This deficiency is most likely the result of a mutation, and is a loss of information which results is greater sensitivity to sunlight. Skin color, along with other racial characteristics, should never be a reason to separate us from the kinship of being part of mankind, God’s creation.
Jim Foley on talk.origins responded to this article. Basically his logic goes like this:
- The account about Neanderthal and chain maille armor is sketchy.
- Neanderthals did not survive into the Middle Ages.
- No competent modern researcher, if he examined the fossils, would make that assertion.
- Therefore, this is a case of an early researcher misidentifying a fossil as a Neanderthal.
In doing this, he commits two logical fallacies. He assumes what he wants to prove (2), and he appeals to whether or not something is true based on if an idea agrees with “modern” research. He implies that if a person comes to such a conclusion nowadays, he would be an incompetent researcher. Immediately he dismisses the possibility that the skeleton was Neanderthal solely on the fact that it was found near chain maille armor. I would say that we would have to have the actual fossils in hand to come to that conclusion for certain. Obviously the person in the article concluded the specimen was Neanderthal despite negative evidence to the contrary. I am sure he would have been somewhat hostile to the idea himself if he wanted his research to be accepted by his peers.
Creationists believe that man was created perfect with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, and that fossils identified as Neanderthal were either genetic or racial variants originating from tremendous variety that existed in the original creation, or they were aged or diseased individuals. Creationists believe that mutations took place, but they either had no beneficial effect or were destructive in nature.
I agree with Jim Foley that the account is sketchy. It certainly needs further investigation, and I have not been able to turn up more information on the subject. If anyone happens to find the original Polish research referenced in that article in Nature, e-mail us and we will post more about this story here. Flash: a reader has found this article, now posted in part on Ian Juby’s web site. The original reference identified this fossil as Neanderthal, and that is why Ian Taylor included it in his book. If this is debunked, it shows that Neanderthal is so much like modern man that it is easy to misidentify it as such. If this find was a true Neanderthal skeleton, then our original point holds. Jim Foley’s acknowledgement that fossils of modern man are sometimes misidentified as Neanderthal only serves to reinforce our belief that Neanderthal is simply a variant of modern man. The original diagnosis of J. K. von Fuhlrott that Neanderthal was probably the remains of some 500-year-old soul who had been a victim of Noah’s flood is still a reasonable one.
One observation I make concerning this account is that evolutionists shouldn’t feel threatened if it were proven that Neanderthal existed to recent times. All they would need to do then is to use the same type of reasoning why other megaevolutionary ancestors of man such as monkeys, fish, clams, and blue-green algae, have survived to the present. If the claim that Neanderthal was found near chain mail armor were proven or debunked, it would not be enough to sway the opinion of either school of thought.
Neanderthal (or Neandertal, whichever you prefer) is way down on the pecking order on the list of problems that concern creationists. Marvin Lubenow’s book Bones of Contention is probably the best reference on the subject of fossil man. Erich von Fange’s article “Neanderthal: Oh How I Need You,” referenced below, is an excellent study of the story of Neanderthal man.
Update: Now that we have a copy of the original research in hand, we are able to ascertain the extent of the analysis of the remains and discern that it indeed was a careful scientific analysis. More information about the researcher: Kazimierz Stolyhwo was the founder of the anthropology department at the University of Warsaw. A history of this department can be found at http://www.archeo.uw.edu.pl/antropologia/history.htm. The research in the original reference contains detailed measurements of the skull and comparisons of these measurements to known Neanderthal specimens. The original reference was found at the University of Washington library by a reader of this web site. I would encourage those who would say that Mr. Stolyhwo was mistaken in his conclusions to request a copy and present research showing that the specimen he analyzed does not fit known Neanderthal characteristics.
This obscure reference has generated quite a bit of controversy. What is its value? Let’s examine the possibilities, as gleaned from various hostile e-mails I have received.
(1) This is a hoax perpetrated by either me or Ian Taylor. You can believe this if you like but the possibility of this is quite low. Ian sent me a photocopy of the original article, and it would take a bit of work for him to fabricate this.
(2) The reference is sketchy and the original research still needs to be unearthed. This was a valid criticism, but now that the original research has been found it no longer holds true.
(3) Presuming (1) this is not a hoax and (2) the article referenced research that was done, one possibility is that the researcher misidentified the skeleton as Neanderthal. I agree that this is a strong possibility, but that also makes the point that it is possible for someone to classify a modern skeleton as Neandertal by mistake, and that makes you wonder if other Neandertal finds are modern variants as well. This fits in well with Creationist assertions that Neandertal is a variant of modern man. (Now that the original research has been found, this can be tested).
(4) The armor was placed next to the skeleton many years after, and they do not belong together. Certainly a possibility, but hardly likely.
(5) Armor-making was a Neandertal craft. We would contend that there is no reason to believe that Neanderthals were too stupid to do so, since scientists have no data on the intelligence of the Neandertal race. That would fit with Creationist ideas that Neandertal was an intelligent human, probably of great age, that lived either before the flood or shortly afterward. If we knew what kind of armor it was, it would help date the find.
Overall Analysis: This reference fits in very well with creationist historic predictions. I would encourage anyone who is interested in this to investigate the original study in the February 1908 issue of the Bulletin International of the Academy of Sciences of Cracow. FOUND! See Ian Juby’s website. Now that it has been found, this raises the value at least to B in my opinion (see Evidence vs. Myths).
Jack Cuozzo’s analysis after examining the original article: “This skull does not appear to be Neandertal. Especially the cranial length and the brow ridge combination. It could be female but then why the armor? Some of the craniometric measurements are not used anymore. Some of them are spelled incorrectly. I’m sorry I couldn’t spend more time with it. There is no cranial capacity included either. This would be very crucial.” My note: Jack Cuozzo’s theory that Neandertal remains were from individuals that lived shortly after the flood to great ages would also have a problem with a Neandertal find from a period much later. If his theory is correct that Neandertal characteristics result from great age (200+ years), then a Neandertal find from the period of the middle ages would debunk this. If this find was misidentified as Neanderthal, it tends to support Jack’s ideas in that you would not expect to find a 200 year old individual from that time period.
Impact if debunked: None. There is much more significant evidence available than this. See Jack Cuozzo’s web site and book Buried Alive.
Buried Alive: The Startling Truth About Neanderthal Man By Jack Cuozzo
Ota Benga: The Story of the Pygmy on Display in a Zoo by Dr. Jerry Bergman Reprinted by permission from Creation Research Society Quarterly 30:4 December 1993. By Jerry Bergman.
Additional information on Neanderthal:
Lubenow, Marvin L. Bones of Contention. Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1992
VonFange, Erich A. “Neanderthal: Oh How I Need You!” Creation Research Society Quarterly 18:3. December 1981.
Gish, Duane T. Evolution: The Fossils Still Say No! The Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, CA 1995.
Moore, John N. How to Teach Origins (Without ACLU Interference) Mott Media, Milford, MI 1983.